The big difference in French and American romantic comedies can be easily seen in Heartbreakers (L’Arnacoeur). This lively Gallic romcom, starring Vanessa Paradis and Romain Duris, revolves around Duris being hired to make Paradis fall out of love with her fiancée.

Most of the time, whether it’s American or French or whatever, the typical romcom has totally unbelievable elements. A movie like The Proposal offers two attractive stars (Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds) yet strains credulity otherwise. Likewise the plot in Heartbreakers concerns a company that Duris works for that makes Mission Impossible look like a bunch of amateurs playing with computers. This motley crew (Duris and two assistants) can spy on anybody and have such sophisticated surveillance equipment it would seemingly require an 18-wheeler. The trick to making this genre of film easy on the soul is the element of “making it work.”

Heartbreaks, to its credit, does work especially when Duris and Paradis turn on the charm. This involves, among other things, lip-synching to Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and recreating the climatic dance number from Dirty Dancing. Long before the film ends you know these two will be together and maybe even feel a bit sorry for Paradis’ boyfriend since he’s not especially a bad guy.

Duris has appeared in films distributed in America like The Beat That My Heart Skipped and L’auberge espagnole. The petit Paradis has been a pop singing sensation since she was a teenager and is currently married to Johnny Depp.

Heartbreakers (which has no relation to the 2001 movie of the same name) rolls into the River Oaks Theater this weekend for a one-week stint.

— Michael Bergeron